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MITCHELL v. PERALTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DIST.

June 27, 1991

PEARL THOMAS MITCHELL, Plaintiff,
v.
PERALTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT, a public entity; AMEY STONE and HARLEY WHITE, individually and as Trustees for PERALTA COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WEIGEL

 STANLEY A. WEIGEL, United States District Judge.

 Plaintiff Pearl Thomas Mitchell, a black female, brings this action for sex and race discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against her former employer, Peralta Community College District ("Peralta"), and for violations of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, against two members of Peralta's Board of Trustees, Amey Stone and Harley White. Her complaint stems from Peralta's rejection of her application for the position of Director of Grants, Development, and Monitoring for Peralta Community College District ("Director of Grants") in favor of a white male applicant. All defendants renew their motions for summary judgment. *fn1"

 I. FACTS

 In September 1987, plaintiff was appointed to the interim position of Administrator/Monitor of District Grants at Peralta. Peralta had been experiencing financial troubles, and the interim position was created to monitor Peralta's receipt of grants. Allen Depo., at 11-12. Plaintiff knew that the position was temporary when she accepted it and that she would eventually have to compete with other applicants for a permanent position through the interviewing process. Mitchell Depo., at 61-63.

 In March 1988, plaintiff was officially notified by Jeanette Dorsey, the Interim Director of Personnel, that her interim position would terminate at the end of June. Dorsey Decl., para. 6. Plaintiff was invited to submit her application for the permanent position, once it was posted. Id. Not long afterward, Peralta formally announced the vacancy for the newly created permanent position of Director of Grants. Id., P 7.

 In December 1987, the Board of Trustees for Peralta had adopted Board Policy 1.18 as a means of establishing a systematic recruitment and selection procedure to fill the numerous administrative positions then staffed on an interim basis. Dorsey Decl., para. 4. Since its approval, approximately twenty-two positions at Peralta have been filled in accordance with Board Policy 1.18. Id. The Director of Grants position was filled pursuant to the procedures outlined in this policy. Id., PP 8-9.

 As required by policy 1.18, Jeannette Dorsey convened a selection committee consisting of three managers selected by Peralta, three faculty members appointed by the Academic Senate, and one classified representative, selected by the union. *fn2" Id., P 10; Board Policy 1.18, § I.D.2. Maureen Knightly, one of the management representatives, was chosen to serve as committee chairperson. Dorsey Decl., para. 10. The policy did not dictate any particular composition of the committee on the basis of race, ethnicity, or gender, but did specify that the committee be "balanced." Board Policy 1.18, § I.D.2. The committee's purpose was to interview, score, and rank each applicant. According to the policy, the top three candidates were to be presented, unranked, to the Chancellor, Dr. Armen Sarafian, who is now deceased. Board Policy 1.18, § II.C. If the Chancellor found one or more of these candidates to be satisfactory, he would recommend that person to the Board of Trustees for a final vote. Id., §§ III.B. & E.

 Again, pursuant to the policy, the committee reviewed the job description and responsibilities listed in the application for the Director of Grants position and devised a uniform set of ten questions to ask each applicant. Dorsey Decl., para. 11; Knightly Depo., at 23; Board Policy 1.18, § II.B. The committee also developed a checklist of topics the applicants were expected to discuss in response to each question. Dorsey Decl., para. 11; Exh. F to Dorsey Decl. The committee was briefed by Velma Nance (black female), Peralta's Affirmative Action officer, on District policy concerning affirmative action, equal employment opportunities, and interviewing procedures. Id., P 11; Knightly Depo., at 16, 22; Nance Depo., at 38-40. Committee members were expressly instructed not to discuss among themselves the scores and ranks assigned to each applicant and to exercise their own independent judgment in scoring them. Knightly Depo., at 22.

 On June 27, 1988, nine of the fifteen applicants for the Director of Grants position were interviewed, including plaintiff. Dorsey Decl., paras. 9, 12. Nance was present at each interview. Id., P 12. For some unknown reason, the sole black member of this committee, Larry Gurley, did not attend the interviews nor participate in the selection process. Each applicant was asked the ten questions prepared by the committee. The committee members then scored and ranked the applicants' responses based on their responses. Knightly Depo., at 39. Ten was the highest score an applicant could receive on any given question, and two the lowest. Id. As instructed, the members did not discuss the answers or rankings with each other. Id., at 40.

 After concluding all interviews, the names of the three candidates who had received the highest combined scores were submitted to the Chancellor. Dorsey Decl., para. 14. Of the nine candidates interviewed, Pearl Mitchell received the lowest overall score. Id., P 16; Exh. I to Dorsey Decl. In fact, there was more than a 200 point difference between plaintiff's score and the highest score, and more than 140 points between plaintiff's and the third highest scores. Exh. I to Dorsey Decl. Chancellor Sarafian interviewed all three finalists and selected Richard Robinson, a white male, as Director of Grants. The Board of Trustees, which included defendants Harley White and Amey Stone, approved his choice. Plaintiff was subsequently reassigned to a faculty position.

 The allegations forming the basis of this suit concern both Peralta's rejection of plaintiff for the Director of Grants position and the circumstances surrounding the selection process. Plaintiff avers that defendants rejected her application for Director of Grants because of race and sex discrimination. She claims that shortly before the selection process began, Peralta employees circulated malicious, sexist rumors that she was a prostitute, that she was romantically involved with two members of the Board of Trustees, and that she "worked the Board." According to plaintiff, these rumors tainted the selection process. In addition, she claims that defendants Stone and White repeated several of these rumors to the Chancellor, requesting that he conduct an investigation into their validity.

 Regarding the selection process itself, plaintiff contends that the committee's composition was suspect and not racially balanced. She also maintains that one member of the selection committee harbored a discriminatory animus toward her. She charges that Stone's and White's actions and omissions tainted the integrity of the selection process and violated her civil rights.

 All defendants move for summary judgment. Each contends that plaintiff's evidence is insufficient to create ...


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